Tag Archives: Mark Twain

#atozchallenge Z is for Zarf


by Lillian Csernica on April 30, 2019

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Names are powerful. To know the name of a thing is to possess some degree of control over it. Long before I learned about that belief, I had already fallen in love with knowing the names of rocks, seashells, plants, and animals.

Few activities are better for learning new words than reading a lot. You never know what you might come across. That’s one reason I love to read historical fiction and nonfiction. There’s no pleasure like finding the exact word.

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What does all this have to do with the word ZARF?

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A standard cardboard coffee cup sleeve. That phrase is a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?

Clarity and precision are my watchwords. First draft might be all over the place, but a good solid edit will include the right words in the right places. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but you won’t get the same mental image!

giphyThis brings us to the end of the 2019 A to Z Blog Challenge. Many thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to stop by, like a post, and leave a comment. I’m always happy to hear from you.

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Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, editing, Food, historical fiction, publication, Writing

Thunderbolts and Lightning Bugs


By Lillian Csernica on May 4, 2013

Day Four: Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

Nowhere else have I read such a perfect illustration of the importance of finding just the right word.  When I was in school I didn’t appreciate Mark Twain’s writing.  As I got older and discovered the fine arts of sarcasm and satire, then Twain’s writing and his observations about the human condition held more meaning for me.  Twain himself is one of my role models.  As a teenager he became a licensed riverboat pilot.  He was a confederate soldier in the Civil War.  He mined for gold and silver, then went on to become a journalist in San Francisco.  He was one of the first people to use this newfangled invention called a typewriter.  This was a man who knew very well the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

I want to write stories and novels that say something meaningful about people and the historical periods in which they lived.  I hope I can always find the right words.

Rest in peace, Mr. Twain.  Thank you for showing me the way.

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Filed under Blog challenges, Fiction, Humor, Writing